WHERE? Just over an hour’s drive from busy Joburg lies a haven of arts and crafts – Parys. Immerse yourself in the culture of this quaint town.
WHY GO? Known as the Jewel of the Vaal River, the picturesque town of Parys is well worth exploring. Visit the family-owned Pine’s Antiques shop (pinesantiques.co.za), established in the early ’70s, and be tempted by pieces imported from England and Western Europe, unusual brassware, and well-crafted reproductions of ancient artefacts. Then, continue down Bree Street and wander into en Style, where a variety of art and decor is displayed in stylish showrooms, before taking a turn around the Van den Berg Fine Art Gallery to view beautiful art created by local talent. After a morning spent exploring Parys, you’re bound to be famished, so delight in a tasty lunch of snack platters or moreish gourmet sandwiches at the Feast restaurant (feastrestaurant.co.za). You’ll love the chic feel of this outdoorsy cafe. STAY In keeping with the cultural, arty theme of your getaway, treat yourself to a stay in one of the seven luxurious rooms at the five-star Art Lovers Guest House and Conference Venue. COST The Sapphire Room boasts a super king-size bed with Egyptian-cotton linen, Persian carpets, original paintings by local artists, a classic crystal chandelier, and an en-suite bathroom – it’s simply magnificent! From R1 500pn in the Sapphire Room, with breakfast. Valid until 28 February 2016; see artloversguesthouse.co.za
GEM IN THE NORTHERN CAPE: KAKAMAS
WHERE? At a little over an hour outside of Upington, this town was founded in 1898 on the banks of the Orange River.
WHY GO? Kakamas is home to some of the most beautiful sights in the country. Its name comes from the Khoisan
word for poor pasture, but today, the bountiful landscape houses vineyards, and fields of cotton and lucerne. Visit the Augrabies Falls and be mesmerised by the volume of water that thunders down the 56m-high waterfall when the Orange River is full. Other must-see features include the 11 waterwheels that still operate on the town’s canals, and the old war graves just outside of the town, for German soldiers who died fighting against SA troops in the 1915 Battle of Kakamas. STAY On the outskirts of Kakamas, the four-star Vergelegen Guesthouse offers stylish en-suite accommodation. COST Try the Double Room, from R540ppspn, including breakfast.
Valid from 1 January to 31 June 2016; see augrabiesfalls.co.za
GEM IN THE KAROO: BAVIAANSKLOOF
WHERE? About 120km from PE, within the Groot Karoo, you’ll find the home of the Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve, a World Heritage Site. WHY GO? Baviaanskloof is known for its rocky mountain terrain, and abundant plant- and animal life. There are several narrow mountain passes, which offer the best routes to explore the fertile valley that stretches over about 200km. However, most guided walks and hikes need to be booked through whichever local hotel, lodge or B&B you’ll be staying at. STAY The four-star Sederkloof Lodge offers guests staying for a minimum of two nights a guided walk along the Cedar Hiking Trail. This half-day hike takes you through the endemic Willowmore cedar forests, with trees exclusively found in Baviaanskloof. You’ll also walk down to a shallow gorge surrounded by rust-coloured sandstone cliffs – look out for black eagles nesting in the crags. After all this exercise, head down to the local hangout, Vero’s Restaurant, for traditional roosterkoek bread, braaied to perfection, then packed with mince or jam – scrumptious! Then, walk across the road to the Baviaanskloof Craft Shop, where you can pick up a Baviaanskloof T-shirt as a memento.
COST A stay at Sederkloof’s Eagle’s Nest Mountain Chalet is from R3 100ppspn, including all meals, and soft drinks. And, if you stay for a minimum of two nights, aside from the guided hike along the Cedar Hiking Trail, you’ll also get a 4×4 sunset game drive, and a cave dinner in a sandstone cave. Or opt for self-catering stays, from R1 700pn in the six-sleeper Bush Cottage, and from R3 030pn in the four-sleeper Camp Naguna. Valid until
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